With new deadline rules recently announced in relation to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), it’s important for anyone physically affected by the 9/11 attacks to know the eligibility requirements for new claims.
To be eligible, VCF claimants must provide proof that they were physically affected by the 9/11 attacks (as a first responder, construction worker, cleaner, laborer, resident, office worker, student, tenant, homeowner, or other) or were present in the New York City Exposure Zone (south of Canal Street, Manhattan and/or in Fresh Kills, Staten Island) at any time between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and also suffered a related physical or injury.
However, it’s not as simple as proving the impact and receiving a check or treatment.
Injuries must be certified by the WTC Health Program and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Injuries can include the development of diseases or cancers, some of which can remain dormant for years.
In addition to these physical, or “noneconomic claims,” the VCF also reviews “economic claims.” This refers to covering the loss of future and past earnings, loss of retirement benefits, replacement services, and unreimbursed medical expenses.
December 18, 2020 is the final deadline for you to submit your completed claim.
Calculating the registration deadline can be difficult. The claims process can be long and subject to delays, and Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo urges those with new claims, as well as claimants from 2001-2003 and plaintiffs from the World Trade Center Settlement Program who have new or worsening conditions, to contact the firm as soon as possible discuss what they need to do to make a valid claim to the VCF.
Filing a claim with the VCF is not the equivalent of filing a lawsuit.
The VCF is a federal government program and is separate from the lawsuits between individuals and the Port Authority, the insurer, and others.
When you file a claim with the VCF, no one is being sued. The VCF evaluates your claim and determines your compensation award.
Certain non-physical, noneconomic injuries are not eligible for filing a claim.
As devastating and traumatizing as the attacks were, Congress has authorized the VCF to only find certain physical injuries eligible for compensation. The VCF is not able to find non-physical injuries such as psychological injuries, PTSD, depression, and anxiety eligible for compensation. Oh the other hand, the WTC Health Program does cover the costs of treatment and medication for WTC-related psychological and psychiatric illnesses.
The VCF has issued a new policy guide with updated deadlines, dates and information. You can download a free PDF of the guide here.